Union organisation and the quality of employment relations

Pub. Date
01 March, 2010
Pub. Type

This report investigates how workplace union organisation varies in its effectiveness and assesses the impact that effective unions have on the quality of workplace employment relations. Theories of union activity suggest that unions can heighten tension and conflict at the workplace by bringing issues to the fore which might not be aired in a non-union setting. However, union organisation may also benefit employees and employers by improving information flows, offering workers 'voice', tackling problems in the workplace, and promoting more efficient management. This so-called 'voice' function of unions has the potential to bring about better (more stable, more constructive) employment relationships. The report examines these issues using data from the most recent Workplace Employment Relations Survey (WERS), conducted in 2004.